A curiosity of the lineage of my husband, John J. Bagby, Sr., combined with a love for history, brought sweet fruition in the year of our LORD, nineteen hundred and ninety-nine. Unknown to me at the time, Roy Lynn Bagby of Mountain View, Arkansas; my husband's second cousin and his wife, Donna Kay Holland [Bagby] had spent several years traveling to other states in America gathering census records and other genealogical data on the lineage of their mutual ancestor, Benjamin Price Bagby.
Late one evening, the phone rang and when John answered, the voice on the other end asked a pointed question. "Are you runnin' down Bagbys?" My husband's first reaction was cautious, and his thinking was, "No, I would never run down the Bagby name." Before he could respond, the voice on the other end of the line introduced himself and then the phraseology was understood in the intended context. "Are you researching the Bagby surname?" After the cousins had renewed their acquaintance, the phone was handed to me because I had been trying to piece together a lineage with family stories that were less than accurate.
Within a week I received a package of genealogy data Roy had compiled and I began searching the Internet with a renewed vigor. It was with this information I stumbled across a genealogy post by Linda Gayle Bartlam [Reams] about a Reverend William Bagby. I did not recognize the information in her post, but I emailed her and inquired about the father of Benjamin Price Bagby, Arthur P. Bagby who was born in Louisa County, Virginia and died in Texas according to census records. After correspondence with Linda, we were able to determine the connection.
What began as a curiosity to find John's origin, turned into an overwhelming desire to compile a genealogy of all Bagby lines. Since that time, with my own research and the research of Bagby cousins from coast to coast, the Bagby genealogy has grown so much it cannot be published in a single descendant report on our web site. I have been careful to include notations throughout the reports of the names of the original researchers who have contributed and continue to contribute to this "endless genealogy".
As I sit day after day, and night after night, many times until well past midnight, at this computer, a verse of Scripture keeps coming to my mind:
"Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions..."
— I Timothy 1:4
However, Bagby genealogy has become an entity that would consume me. I must pursue it. I took it on, and now it has taken me on.
Tom Smith, a Bagby researcher, who, like me, married into the Bagby family, set down the following thoughts:
"As we know as amateur genealogists, it is very difficult to reconstruct the past. So we act on a hunch, set up a hypothesis, and wait — wait for it to be proven wrong or right. Whatever comes, we should be delighted because we have stepped closer to the truth — opened a window to the past to understand better who we are. What I have suggested is what I suspect to be true — not what is proven. Perhaps the records are not there to show the true state of things, or perhaps they are just around the corner. I am content to wait for the truth to emerge, but meanwhile I make some tentative jottings filling in some empty spaces in a tree that is ever growing — a part of it truth — a small part dreams."
I would like to thank Tom Smith not only for putting these thoughts into words so aptly, but for allowing me to share them.
In his book entitled "History of King and Queen County Virginia", Rev. Alfred P. Bagby, D. D. wrote a Preface thoroughly describing the feelings any serious researcher has undergone during the quest to record their family genealogy. He managed to capture in word, what many have thought.
— Sherri Schäefer Bagby
The author has long since ceased to look for perfection in any production that is merely human, much less can he make such claim for himself. The most anyone can claim is to approximate his own ideals. Our attempt has been to tell the truth, the whole attainable truth, and nothing but the truth; but we are mindful that the truth is not always the easiest thing to find, nor, when found, is it very easy to state it in a manner at once clear and attractive.
We are not conscious of any sinister thought, certainly not of any commercial thought, in the preparation of this volume. It has cost no little of time, expense, and labor, but it has been a labor love. Himself a native of King and Queen, it has been his aim to set forth what he has seen and known of the nobility of the men and women it has sent forth as a legacy to the world. Omissions often and mistakes many will be observed, unavoidable from the inception, and for reasons but too obvious. Three times have the county records been swept away by fire, once during the Civil War. This is so disastrous that consecutive and detailed history of courts, transfers of real estate, and even county officers, is impossible. Hence much of our story is scrappy and fragmentary I imagine that a parallel can hardly be found in the State.
The county is among the smaller ones, with no great fertility of soil; moreover, we are an isolated people with no great facilities for trading. The most that we can boast is in the character of our men and women, their culture, refinement, virtue, and devotion to religious ideals.
It has been my desire and ambition to do ample justifice to every section of our county. I could have no motive possible to my discernment to do otherwise. As my own life has been in the middle section, things there have come more readily to my mind.
From my boyhood the Baptists have been predominant here. Every effort has been made to override all partiality to them. If some find their family names left out, it is surely not by design. Good men are not always responsive to appeals for family history and genealogy. An author is quite helpless in such matters. Even an honest man cannot write a history without data, nor ought he. The larger space given to the Clarks, the Civil War, etc., is not unfair, for they naturally and reasonably deserve a larger place in the public eye.
Anent the Colonial church, – the Church of England, – every possible effort has been made to get a representation worthy and satisfactory for our volume, but in vain. The author is greatly indebted to Hon. H.R. Pollard, Col. A.F. Fleet, Judges J.G. Dew, T.R.B. Wright, Charles T. Bagby, Esq., B.H. Walker, M.D., John Pollard, D.D., and notable also to W.H. Whitsitt, LL.D., for words of cheer and valued aid in various directions.
— A. Bagby